Friday, March 30, 2012

Lenten Fish on Fridays: Simply-Seared Tilapia

Well, if you thought that the flu season was over, think again.  And, I have a house full of Kleenex to prove it!

This week's recipe is my go-to quick-cook fish recipe.  I serve it with rice and a salad for very quick meal or dress it up with latkes and a veggie dish for something special.  Try a vegetable noodle toss for a truly fast meal - just cook the veggies and noodles in one pot while the fish is searing.  Toss the poasta with oil and spices, place the fish on top and you are ready to eat!

Simply-Seared Tilapia
4 tilapia fillets
garlic powder
onion powder
rice oil
  1. Heat a non-stick pan with two tablespoons rice oil over medium heat.
  2. Wash fish and pat dry. 
  3. Sprinkle fish with onion powder, garlic powder and salt.
  4. Lift the pan to spread the oil around the bottom of the pan.  Add more oil as needed.
  5. Gently place the pieces of fish on the bottom of the hot pan.  Do not crowd the pan.  It is better to cook a few pieces at a time and cook multiple batches than it is to overload a pan and never get the heat needed to properly cook the fish.
  6. Cook the fish until brown on one side, about 5 minutes.
  7. Gently flip the fish and cook until brown and flaky, about 5 more minutes.
  8. Serve hot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review: "Farm Fresh Southern Cooking" by Tammy Algood

It took me all of 2 seconds to jump on the opportunity to review a book on southern cooking.  But, this is not just any old southern cookbook.  This cookbook is based on fresh foods from farmers markets all over the south.  It includes recipes from Virginia to South Florida and Georgia to Texas, with a stop-over in the bayous of Louisiana... I was hooked!

My first impression of the book was its simply appealing cover.  The paper has a nice, organic feel with font and photos to match.  As I looked through the recipes, I was pleased to see that they were as simple as the books cover.  Each recipe contained fresh from the farm ingredients, no boxes.  The recipes were easy to read and could be cooked simply.  In fact, most of these ingredients are foods that you would commonly find in your kitchen regardless of where you lived.

Although the ingredients are simple, the variety of recipes was refreshing.  Take, for example, the desserts.  Often times, the dessert section of a cookbook is full of nutty, peanut-ty goodness which, along with many other unsafe ingredients, is not appealing for those with allergies.  But this book offered up much more than those nutty, bready favorites.  I was particularly tempted by the Fresh Orange Pound Cake, Lighter-Than-Air Peach Mousse, and Upside-Down Caramelized Nectarines.  While these goodies are not allergy-safe for us, I was pleasantly surprised to find some recipes that were:  Fresh Raspberry Sauce and Sunny Lemon Granite.  That is indeed rare and a testament to the variety of low-fuss, fresh recipes that are found throughout this book.

I am excited to try more of these recipes.  I am excited to adapt some of the recipes that are not safe for my family.  This book is full of tasty, fresh, and inspiring ideas.  And, I can not wait to try all of them!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lenten Fish on Friday: Seared Chimichurri Halibut

Today, we will bring a little taste of coastal Latin America to our table.  Make the sauce ahead, doubling the recipe, and serve over grilled steak. Marinate the fish the night before and set your rice cooker to go off after work.  And, with a little forethought, you have a quick, easy week-night supper.  Serve over Cilantro-Lime Rice and top with Chimichurri Sauce alongside a salad.  Delicious!

Seared Chimichurri Halibut
4 Halibut filet
1 T freeze-dried cilantro
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt
2 T rice oil
additional oil for frying
1 batch Cilantro-Lime Rice

Chimichurri Sauce:
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh parsley
5 cloves garlic
2T red onion or green onion (optional)
1 T honey
juice of 1 lemon or lime
1/4 t salt
rice oil
  1. Mix cilantro, orange juice, orange zest, galic powder, salt and oil in a Ziploc bag.
  2. Add halibut and allow to marinate in the refrigerater 4-6 hours.
  3. In the mean time, make your Cilantro-Lime Rice and Chimichurri Sauce.
  4. To make the Chimichurri Sauce, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth like a pesto sauce.
  5. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  6. Remove halibut from the refrigerator.
  7. Heat a nonstick skillet with a little oil.
  8. When skillet is hot, gently place your halibut in the bottom.
  9. Cook for about 7-10 minutes or until browned, then flip.
  10. Cook about 7 minutes until this side is brownand flaky.
  11. Remove from the pan.
  12. Serve the fish over Cilantro-Lime Rice and top with Chimichurri Sauce.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Bag Deal

It is not  uncommon to see people grabbing their reusable grocery bags as they head out for their weekly shopping.  However, when people see me pull out my reusable produce bags, I almost always get comments.  I am told that it is such a great deal.  I am asked where I purchased them.  But the one comment that I always find the most interesting is when people tell me that it is a bit of a hassle.  Not a hassle because you have to remember them or tote them with you.  But, a hassle because they have cashier weigh an empty bag before they weigh their produce.

Today, as a lady next to me loaded up her reusable produce bags, she began telling me about the hassle of having them weigh her empty bags.  I asked why she did that.  I thought that my bags were about the same weight as the ones in the store.  She said no and that she had read many discussions about how the reusable bags add to the cost of your produce.  Well, being the frugal shopper that I am, I thought that I had already addressed this issue when I first made my switch to reusable bags.  I wasn't sure and certainly didn't remember if I had.  So, before risking a confrontation in front of the mango display, I decided to do a little research of my own.

3B Bags produce bags VS store-provided plastic produce bags

Initial cost investment
3B: $2.42/bag
Store bag: free

Added cost per bag
* based on the same size bag using the store's code for apples)
3B: $0.01
Store bag: none

Other cost factors
3B: $0.05/bag credit for using your own bag
Store bag: none

Final cost
* ignoring the initial cost of purchasing reusable bags
3B: $0.04/ bag savings
Store bag: none

RESULT: 3B Bags lower the cost of your produce by about $0.04 per bag used. The bags are beneficial to the environment, pay for themselves after 60 uses, and (as an aside) hold more weight per bag.  The only hassle that I can see is reminding the cashier to give you the bag credit that you deserve.

I am not sure where people are getting the idea that reusable bags are adding to the cost of their produce.  In fact, they are saving on it!  The only cost incurred is the intial investment which pays for itself after 60 uses (or about one year in my house).  And, that initial cost is still less then most pay for a cup of Starbucks!  More importantly, by incorporating reusable produce bags into our shopping habits, we are being responsible keepers of the planet, its animals and its resources.  Isn't that why we bought the bags in the first place?  Why, yes, it is.
So, stop complaining ladies!  I can't speak for other brands, but 3B Bags are saving you money!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Review: "Thank You, God, for Mommy" by Amy Parker, Illustrated by Frank Endersby

Thank You, God, for Mommy
By Amy Parker
Illustrated by Frank Endersby

When I received this book in the mail, I couldn't keep it out of my angel's hands.  "What is it about?  Can you read it?  Oooo - look at the panda!"  The pictures of this book draw readers in to find out what it is about.  While the language is not complex and the message is simple - Thank you, God, for all that my Mommy is to me- it is a message with which little ones can relate. 

"Thank You, God, for Mommy" is written as a prayer from a baby panda to God. This little panda thanks God for all of the wonderful things that his mother does for him - for the very special ways that Mommy Panda shows her love. The book is published in hardback with cardboard pages, perfect for little hands. The book's illustrations are full of vibrant colors with soft, watercolor-like images which capture even the most discerning palette. While the book is primarily for younger children (ages 2 - 5) to enjoy with their mothers, you might also "catch" slightly older children  enjoying this sweet poem and its pictures. 

Here is what my angel said about this book:
"This is a story about my mommy. It tells how the mommy helps the baby do things. I like the blanket that the baby panda carries. I like the pictures and the butterfly."
Frankly speaking, while I enjoyed the pictures and the idea behind the book, I found the story and language simple.  It is a book that children will enjoy for its topic and relatability, not for its artistic language and plot.  In fact, I think that this book would be a nice one for older children to read to younger siblings.  It would be a great way to encourage siblings to share stories about things they've done with Mom and the traditions in their house.

Although perfect for Mothers' Day, the Easter Bunny won't want to miss out on this one either!  And, as summer approaches and we begin thinking about vacation Bible school, this book does provide a stepping stone for the topics covered in the popular "PandaMania" program.  A great gift for upcoming holidays and nice supplement to a preschool program for "PandaMania".

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blessing to you this Sweet Irish Day!

An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lenten fish on Fridays: Salmon Jumokbab (Salmon Rice Balls)

Jumokbab is a traditional Korean dish made from rice, veggies and often some form of meat.  In the simplest form, the ingredients are mixed together and formed into a ball.  Modern day Jumokbab often has meat or another "surprise" tucked inside a ball of rice.  Or, a ball of rice is covered with dried seaweed called "kim".  Whatever you put in these balls, they make a perfect lunch on the run.  You can throw them in a bag to eat later with no need for reheating.  They are a complete meal in one bite!
Salmon Jumokbab is no exception.  And, it is perfect to make with the leftover Molasses Grilled Salmon from last Friday's Lenten Fish on Friday recipe.  But, if there were no leftovers (and that is not hard to believe), then you can just broil a piece or two in the oven or throw it on the grill... no seasoning needed to make this dish delicious.   

Salmon Jumokbab
1 salmon filet, cooked*
1/2 C broccoli tops, cooked
2 C medium grain rice, cooked
3 T bunch chives, chopped
1 T salt
2 T rice oil
  1. Break up the salmon fillet and place in a bowl large enough to hold all of your ingredients.
  2. Chop up the broccoli tops into very small pieces and add to the bowl.
  3. Add the rice, chives, salt and oil to the bowl.
  4. Mix well.  I prefer to put on cooking gloves and use my hands.
  5. Once the ingredients are well distributed, taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. To form medium sized rice balls, pick up about 1/4 cup of the mix.  Squeeze the mix in your hands, rotating it to form a ball.  In order for the rice to stick, you will need to press hard, so do not be afraid.
If you are a beginning rice ball maker, here are some ideas to help you form the perfect ball:
  1. Place a piece of plastic wrap in the bottom of a teacup or measuring cup.  Fold over the wrap and apply pressure. 
  2. Place rice in a plastic lined cup.  Gather the plastic wrap together as though forming a handle or pouch.  Hold the gathered plastic and begin twisting the ball.  As the rice twists, it forms a tight ball.
  3. To form a square or triangle, gently press the plastic covered ball.
  4. You may make cute shapes using rice forms available at many Asian and Japanese groceries or on

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pot-O-Gold Snack

So much fun is derived from sharing the joy of food with our children.  But, when food allergies come into play, it is easy to let the natural limitations rob us of that joy.  Today's snack puts the joy back into food. 

We are making a pot of gold....or is it fool's gold?  Let your kids decide!  We will use jello to make the pot and then fill it with the "gold".  For a little bling, we are topping it all off with edible gold dust.  Edible gold is pure gold which is mixed with silver (instead of the usual inedible metals like copper) to form a 23K or 24K gold that is safe for consumption*.  Let's get out that gold dust, strap the aprons on your little one's and create a fun food for everyone to enjoy.

Pot-O-Gold Jello Snack
1 box grape Jello
2 box lemon or apricot Jello
hot water
cold water
1 shaker of edible gold dust**
small clear glass bowls or small, clear plastic cups
9x13 glass casserole dish (optional)
  1. Using the hot and cold water, mix the grape Jello according to the box directions.
  2. Pour the Jello into the bowls or cups and chill.
  3. When the Jello is "set", remove the cups from the refrigerator.
  4. Scoop the Jello out of the center of each cup, leaving about a 1/4 inch rim around the edges and bottom of the container.
  5. At this point, you have a choice as to the method used, depending on your time and you children's skill levels: the fill and sprinkle method or the cube and cover technique
  6. The Fill and Sprinkle Method:  Mix the lemon or apricot Jello according to the package directions.  Pour the liquid Jello into the center of each cup, filling it to the edge of the remaining grape Jello.  Place the cups back into the refrigerator.  Once the Jello is "set", sprinkle with edible gold dust.
  7. The Cube and Cover Technique:  While the grape Jello is "setting", mix the lemon or apricot Jello according to the recipe for Jigglers.  Once "set", remove from the refrigerator.  Using a knife, cut lines across the length and width of the dish to form cubes.  Run warm water on the outside of the dish. Run your knife around the inside edges of the dish then turn the dish over onto a clean cutting board or cookie sheet.  The jigglers should fall out.  If they do not, gently run your knife under the jigglers and loosen them up inside of the dish.  Sprinkle the jigglers  with edible gold dust and arrange them in the center of the hollowed grape Jello bowls or cups.  Make sure the gold dusted sides face up. Depending on how your jigglers came out of the dish, you may find it easier to fill the grape pot and sprinkle the edible gold dust over the jigglers once they are in place.
  8. Enjoy!
*  Edible Gold is made from pure gold and silver.  There are no other substances used in the manufacturing of this product and therefore, unless you are allergic to gold or silver, edible gold should be allergy safe.    For more information on edible gold or silver, visit the "Edible Gold and Silver Leaf Facts" page on

**  To control allergens, the best way to get your edible gold, is to order it directly from one of the online dealers.  Some local baking and restaurant supply stores carry gold leaf, gold dust, or gold flakes.  Locally, I was able to find the gold leaf but it was being sold by the leaf and not in an allergy-controlled environment.  I also found it on, but, it was being sold by the companies listed below and at a higher price.  To save money, I went directly to the source.  Here are the links:  Located on the west coast; sells edible gold leaf, flakes, and dust  Located on the east coast; sells edible gold leaf, flakes, and dust; sells edible silver leaf, flakes, or dust

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rainbow Reward Chart Giveaway

If you haven't seen my Rainbow Reward Chart, it is a fun way to encourage your kids in their chores or other responsibilities.  It is especially perfect for this time of the year as spring blooms and rainbows pop out behind clouds.

In my sewing fervor, I made an extra reward chart and I FEEL LIKE A GIVER!  It has been a while since I did a giveaway due to the low response so this one will be quick.  Here is how to enter:

  1. Leave your favorite allergy-friendly, kid-inclusive St. Patrick's Day activity in the comment box for this post (as a registered guest so that I know how to contact you).  Feel free to include links!
  2. Follow me on Pinterest.
  3. Tell me how you motivate your angel below this FB post on our Facebook page.
  4. For you Twits, Tweet "#Giveaway @AllergicAngel I feel lucky!"

Winners will be chosen at random and announced some time tomorrow via the above pages.  You may enter once per method.  The winner will be notified via email and the above social media pages.  In the event that we are unable to contact the contestant within 48 hours of the first notification, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected. And all entries are subject to our Contest and Giveaway RulesThe Rainbow Reward Chart Giveaway ends tomorrow (March 15, 2012) at 12noon EST/9:00PST and...

.. starts NOW!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rainbow Reward Chart

Last week, I started making this Pot O Gold Scarf from but in the midst of a mommy brain moment, I purchased felt instead of fleece.  Well, we assembled the rainbows and had an idea.  Instead of scarves, how about reward charts?!

We have been struggling here with three aspects of our routine:  keeping the schedule, doing our chores, and wearing our eye patch.  I have been giving rewards for the eye patch but a reward chart might actually help all of these things!  We are starting this as a motivation for wearing the eye patch and if all goes well, we will add other earning opportunities along the way. 

Here is how it works:
  1. Make a rainbow chart using felt material and the instructions for the "Pot O Gold Scarf", omitting the pot.  We made our rainbows about 15 inches each then added a cloud at each end.
  2. Cut a "U" shaped piece of black felt 12 inch smaller than the width of the rainbow.  This will become the pot for your gold.  Fold the top of the "U" down 1/4 inch and pin.  Begining at the top, cut a slight hour-glass figure to give the pot form.
  3. Pin this pot on top of one of the clouds at the bottom of your rainbow and sew in place.
  4. Stick a 1/4 inch piece of velcro hooks to the back of a buch of plastic gold coins.
  5. Stick the gold coins on the clouds at the bottom of the pot.
  6. As your angel is caught doing something that you like, give them a piece of gold for their rainbow.  At the end of the day, they may move the gold from their rainbow to their pot. 
  7. The gold may be spent in the family "store" for mystery items, adventure days, extra trip to the park, breakfast for dinner, or whatever excites your angels.  Be sure that your store has a variety of purchase opportunities for all price ranges.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Holy Irish Boxty with Rainbow Fruit Salad

    Boxty, sausage and fruit salad make a perfectly Irish breakfast ideal for celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

    According to, Boxty are Irish potato cakes that are fried or baked before serving.  They are a staple of any Irish kitchen and the pride of any Irish woman who makes them well.  The word boxty comes from the Gaelic bac-stai, where "bac" is a shelf over a "stai," or open fire, where it was originally cooked.  And, if you get someone talking about their boxty, you might hear them say:
    Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan.
    If you can't make boxty, you'll never get your man.
    For a long time, we have not been able to eat potatoes because my angel was allergic.  In fact, just a brush with the juice of the potato sent her skin into a swelling rash.  But, things are changing and we can now eat limited amounts of potatoes without any problems.  So, this year, I have come up with an allergy-safe version of boxty for us to cook up.  For those of you who might still have the potato allergies, try my No-Potato Chive Latke; they are sure not to disappoint!

    Holy Irish Boxty
    5 potatoes
    4 T chopped chives, may be freeze-dried
    1 T salt
    1 C rice flour
    1 C water
    rice oil for frying
    1. Fill a medium stock pot with water and add a dash of salt.
    2. Peel 3 potatoes, dice them and place them in the water.
    3. Bring the water to boil and cook until the potatoes are just soft.
    4. Remove potatoes from the water and mash them in a bowl.
    5. Peel the last 2 potatoes and grate into a sieve.
    6. Press the water out of the potatoes with your hands.  You may want to put the potatoes in a kitchen towel and twist the towel until the water is out but I found the sieve works just as well.
    7. Add the chives, salt, and flour.  Mix well.
    8. Add the water and stir until a thick pancake batter forms.  You may add water if necessary.
    9. Heat a little rice oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet.
    10. Pour 1/2 C portions onto the pan and spread into a pancake.  Cook until the first side is brown, adding oil if needed.  Flip.
    11. Cook the second side until the pancake is cooked all through and brown.  The pancakes do best is only flipped once so be patient; you may have to practice until you get the hang of it.

    Rainbow Fruit Salad

    This fruit salad can be made with any fruits that you like.  I have listed my combination along with suggestions for other fruits that you might prefer.  And, if you are managing multiple allergies in multiple people, try placing each fruit in its own bowl and grouping them together on the table.  Whether mixed together or served separately, it is fun to find all of the colors of the rainbow!

    Choose one fruit from each color group and prepare as indicated:

    1/2 mini watermelon, remove flesh with a melon baller
    6 strawberries, remove tops and quarter
    1 apple with red skin, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

    2 champagne mangoes, cut flesh into 1/2 inch pieces
    1 banana, peel, slice lengthwise and slice
    1/4 pineapple, core and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

    1 orange, peel, remove segments and preserve juice
    1/4 cantaloupe, peel, seed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1 persimmon, peel, seed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
    2 apricots, peel and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

    2 kiwi, peel and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1 C grapes, remove from stem and cut in half
    1 C kiwi berries, wash
    2 pears with green skin, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1/4 honeydew melon, peel, seed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

    1 1/2 C blueberries

    1 C grapes, remove from stems and cut in half
    3 figs, remove stems and quarter
    2 plums, cut flesh into 1/4 inch pieces

    1. Place one fruit of each color in a bowl and toss.  If pears, apples or bananas are turning brown, add a little orange or lemon juice to stop the oxidation.

    This video by Andrew Zimmerman of Cooking Club of America is a great demonstration of how to easily remove orange segments:

      Friday, March 9, 2012

      Lenten Fish on Friday: Molasses Grilled Salmon

      I have found an absolutely delicious recipe for glazing a grilled Salmon.  And, it needs little adaptation to make it allergy safe!    It is the Glazed Salmon at  While the recipe needs no changing for safety, I did alter some things based on what I was doing for dinner tonight.

      It is important to begin with a good salmon.  There are nice frozen options year round.  Find one that is wild and which has no added coloring.  Then,  glaze the salmon filets with molasses, garlic, and lemon zest during cooking.  I switched the olive oil for rice oil and reduced the amount to 1/3 cup.  For those may not be quite ready for the grilling season yet, you may cook the salmon at 500 degrees or under the broiler until flaky, removing it frequently for basting.

      This recipe was quick, simple and Yu-u-mmy!  Perfect for a Lenten Fish on Friday!

      Wednesday, March 7, 2012

      Fool's Gold Game

      A cute St. Patrick's Day game on  The game is called "Lucky Gold Hunt" and is perfect for preschool and young elementary children. 

      With a little enhancement, the game can be exciting for older kids, as well.  Children of all ages can search for money together.  But, with the addition of a few rules, the older children will can build important math skills while having a good time, too.  Who can trick the leprechaun out of his gold?  Who will be tricked instead?  Gather your gold and your pots for a little leprechaun hunt!

      Fool's Gold
      1. Gather real coins of various sizes; enough to make $2.00 per person. You may also use the fake coins that realistically resemble the different authentic coins. You will also need 5 tiny green leprechaun(or pictures of them) per person, 5 plastic gold coins per person, and lots of small cloth sacks that sinch closed.  If you do not have those, you may use squares of black cloth ties closed with a ribbon.
      2. First, you will need to divide your coins and place them in bags.  You will need to divide the coins based on your child's ability.  You may place a lot of coins some bags and only a few in others.
      3. Once the coins sacks are prepared, you should also individiually wrap the leprichauns and gold coins.  This will total 10 Lucky Bags.
      4. Hide the bags of coins and the Lucky Bags around the room or in the yard.
      5. Give each child a purse, or small container, for collecting their coins as they hunt.
      6. Then, let the hunt begin!
      7. THE GOAL:  The leprechaun has hidden his gold and the children must find it.
      8. Children should find the small sacks, bring them back and open them in front of you.
      9. The children are trying to collect $1.00 or more in coins.  BUT.....
      10. IF.... the children open a sack with a gold coin, they must give you half of the coins and all of the unopened sacks that they have collected.  They found fool's gold and the leprechaun tricked them out of their money!  This means, it is better to collect only a few sacks at a time.  BUT.....
      11. IF.... the children open a sack with a leprechaun, the leprechaun must return all of the money and sacks that were taken from that child.  For, if a leprechaun is caught, he must grant that person's wish.  The leprechaun has been tricked!
      12. Once the child has collected $1.00 or more, they have filled their pot of gold and may help the other children find any remaining sacks.
      13. HOW TO WIN: If the children can find all of the sacks of gold, then the leprechaun must let the children keep their gold.  But, if the children can not find all of the sacks, the leprechaun gets all of his money back so that he may hide it again!
      14. For young children, you will want to trace the shapes of ten coins on a piece of paper. The children will search for their coins and collect them on their proper shape. As in the original idea on  In this scenario, if fool's gold is found in the sack, the child must give the coin to the leprechaun.  The leprechaun will ask them to perform a trick or answer a question before they can search again for gold.  But, if a leprechaun is found in their bag, the leprechaun must tell the child where one of the bags of money is hidden. 
      15. To heighten the stakes a little, children can try to collect 5 of each coin.  If they get fool's gold, they must give a coin to you the leprichaun.  But, if they find a leprichaun, they have tricked the lepricaun and may have all of their coins back.
      NOTE TO THE LEPRECHAUN:  It is helpful to keep a paper cup with each child's name on it to store anything that you have taken from them.  You can have the kids decorate the cup and write their name on it.  You may also use this opportunity for the kids to make a second cup of a different color which they may use to collect their finds.

      Sunday, March 4, 2012

      Going Green for St Patrick

      March 17th, we are going green for St. Patrick!  This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday and I am looking forward to some special fun in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, dear old St. Patrick.  Not much is known of this bishop but what they do know is interesting.

      St. Patrick was captured in Wales by Irish raiders and enslaved.  Six years later, St. Patrick escaped and returned to his family.  He eventually entered the church and later served as a bishop in Ireland, although no one really knows where.  March 17th is the day of St. Patrick's death and is celebrated in religious and secular ways throughout the world.

      So, to honor this saint, we are going green.  I will post recipes and details closer to the holiday.  For now, here is the plan:

      The Menu
      BreakfastRainbow Fruit Salad, Holy Irish Boxty (Irish Potato Pancakes), sausage

      Lunch: Luck-O-the-Irish Bento with Turkey rolls, Parsley-Basil Pesto Sauce, Cucumbers, pears, and Lucky Rice Balls from rice, chives, broccoli, and a surprise in the middle.  For the surprise, I used a Leprechaun baby, a green Dduk ball, a piece of steamed beet, or a piece of steamed carrot.

       Snack: Pot of Gold Snack

      DinnerSlow-cooked Corned Beef Brisket, Steamed Baby Potatoes, Grilled Cabbage


      A Walk through the Glen (or Botanical Garden, in our case): Visit a new park or local garden.  Challenge things in all of the colors of the rainbow.  And, how many grean things can you find?  Is there anything on your walk that you might cherish as much as gold?

      Pot O Gold Math Game:  I also think that this game would work well to practice addition and subtraction.  You could make a spinner and put "+1" or "-2" and the children must calculate the correct amounts.  If you have two different colored dice, you may do the same by making one color for addition and the other for subtraction.  The children roll the dice to see what they do.

      Fool's Gold Game 

      Coloring Carnations

      Take a Green Bath:  Run a tub of water for bathtime.  Turn out the lights, pop some green glow sticks and throw them in for lots of green fun. For a fun treat, throw in a few gold coins cause you never know what your leprechaun might leave behind!


      With the love of crafts that runs through this family, I could not resist sharing this fun idea!  In fact, this activity is the one that excited my angel's the most.  It is an easy-to-make Pot O Gold Scarf from   While this is certainly something that an adult could make, I also think that a 6 year old could, supervised by an adult, do this on a sewing machine at the slowest stitch setting.  I also think that this could sew easily by hand using a whip stitch to bind the strips.  I am working on one with my angel and will let you know any tips for doing that as we go along.

      Rainbow Reward Chart: In the midst of a mommy-brained moment, I bought felt instead of fleece and ended up with a fun new project based on the Pot of Gold Scarf!

      Friday, March 2, 2012

      Lenten Fish on Fridays: Oven-Fried Tilapia

      I am beginning our Lenten Fish on Fridays post series with a favorite of my family and yours.  This dish is one of my most visited pages of the last year.  It is a dish found on my table monthly and standby when guests come for dinner.  As you begin this season of fasting and reflection in memory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I hope that you enjoy this recipe reposted from March 2011.

      Oven-Fried Tilapia

      4 tilapia fillets, wash and dry
      1/2 onion, julliene
      rice oil
      garlic powder
      2 C Rice Chex

      1. Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil. If you do not have a jelly roll pan, you may also use a glass casserole dish just be sure to grease well with rice oil before beginning step 2.
      2. Spread onion on bottom of oven safe pan. Drizzle with oil.
      3. Sprinkle one side of fillets with garlic and salt. Place on top of onion and salt.
      4. Flip fillets over and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder to taste.
      5. Place rice chex in a large plastic bag and crush until they reach a bread crumb-like consistency.
      6. Add 1/2 T salt and 1 T garlic powder to the bag and mix.
      7. Sprinkle mixture over the top of each fish to create a small mound. Drizzle topping with oil.
      8. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
      9. Allow to cool slightly. Using a large spatula, transfer the fish to a serving plate.
      NOTE 1: Catfish, trout or bass fillets would also probably work well.

      NOTE 2: While these are best eaten straight from the oven, I think that they could be frozen. To reheat, you would sprinkle them with the Rice chex mixture and reheat them in ta 400 degree oven.

      Thursday, March 1, 2012

      Veggie Tales took a Leap!

      I found this fun video from Veggie Tales to explain why we have a Leap Year.  It is often tough for kids to understand that there is even an extra day in February, much less the reason why.  But, leave it to Larry!  In true Veggie style, he gets to the bottom of the reason we have an extra day this year... and in four more years... and four more years.... and......